SANTA ANA (CBS/AP) — A 19-year-old man was arrested Thursday in an investigation into the hacking of a webcam at the home of Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf in an attempt to extort nude photographs, the FBI said.
KNX 1070’s Mike Landa reported Jared James Abrahams of Temecula surrendered to agents at the FBI office in Orange County.
FBI press relations officer Laura Eimiller said Abrahams was released on $50,000 bond Thursday and will be subject to pretrial supervision and home detention with electronic monitoring.
Judge Rosenbluth limited the Abrahams’ computer use to a desktop located at his parents’ home for school purposes. Monitoring software will be installed on the computer he uses.
Abrahams waived a preliminary hearing and is scheduled for a post-indictment arraignment on Nov. 4.
Wolf, a 19-year-old graduate of Great Oak High School in Temecula, won the Miss Teen USA crown Aug. 9.
Last month, she told the website of NBC’s “Today” show that earlier this year she received an anonymous email in which the sender claimed to have stolen images from the camera on her home computer.
The sender of the email threatened to go public with images captured from Wolf’s webcam unless she would provide nude pictures of herself, Eimiller said.
Instead, Wolf went to authorities.
Based on an investigation launched in March the FBI believes there were more than a dozen victims in all from Riverside County, where Temecula is located, and beyond, Eimiller said last month.
Wolf has said she would use her fame to highlight cybercrime.
Wolf’s mother recently told The Press-Enterprise of Riverside that her daughter was in New York, where she was planning to attend the New York Film Academy.
According to the FBI, Abrahams had about 30 to 40 “slave computers” when he was questioned by agents, and had as many as 100 to 150 in the past for hacking.
Internet security expert Steve Fox spoke to KNX 1070’s Jim Thornton and Jan Stevens Thursday, revealing webcams can be hacked into even if the user’s computer is off.
“It’s really up to the user to secure it,” he said.
“If your computer is off, the webcam has its own IP address… If you don’t have that camera secure, an attacker can go in there, turn the camera on and see what’s going on.”
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